I was reading Proverbs recently and this segment just floors me.
Proverbs 1:10-18 [CSB] My son, if sinners entice you, don't be persuaded. If they say, Come with us! Let's set an ambush and kill someone. Let's attack some innocent person just for fun! "Let's swallow them alive, like Sheol, whole, like those who go down to the Pit. "We'll find all kinds of valuable property and fill our houses with plunder. "Throw in your lot with us, and we'll all share the loot" -- My son, don't travel that road with them or set foot on their path, because their feet run toward evil and they hurry to shed blood. It is useless to spread a net where any bird can see it, but they set an ambush to kill themselves; they attack their own lives.
Was it really that frequent of an occurrence that Solomon had to be worried that his son might just run into a group of people who were like, “hey, let’s go kill somebody for fun and profit?” Not for revenge. Not for religious or national supremacy – just for the “fun” of it. That would be pretty shocking even in this day and age!
But things take a turn at Verse 19, where it says, “Such are the paths of all who make profit dishonestly; it takes the lives of those who receive it.” While I doubt a band of sinners will ever entice me to murder for money and sport, the temptation to profit dishonestly is pretty common in the world around us.
If we aren’t careful, as bosses or as employees, we can find ourselves earning a dishonest profit.
Proverbs 11:1 [ESV] A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight. Abomination? That’s a pretty strong word.
When an employer cuts corners on safety, or a manufacturer uses dangerous “fillers” in his product, or a company hires illegal aliens at lower than minimum wage, that company is making a dishonest profit. When an employee surfs the Web on company time, searching for a new job or watching cute kittens on Youtube, they are earning a dishonest profit. Lying on your taxes by misrepresenting your income or expenses is making a dishonest profit. I’m sure you can think of many other examples.
Ephesians 6:5-9 [CSB] Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as you would Christ. Don't work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, do God's will from your heart. Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to people, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord. And masters, treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
This scripture asks us to act as if the Lord is the boss, whether you are the employer or the employee, because He is our ultimate master and He will not favor the boss or the employee when it comes to judgement. He expects this high standard of every one of us, regardless of our earthly jobs.
It seems that God really cares about how we act as employers and employees – as citizens of this world. However, ironically, it is precisely because we are NOT citizens of this world that the Father imposes this high standard on us believers.
Philippians 1:27 [CSB] Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ… [Emphasis mine]
John 18:36 [ESV] Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."
God takes honesty and integrity seriously – at work just as much as at home or at church. To connect an “unjust measure” to people who would murder for profit and sport seems over the top to human minds. But we have to admit that for many of us more people – more non-believers – are going to see how we act on the job than will ever know how we act at home. The workplace is where most of us come into contact with the greatest number of opportunities to be different from the world around us – more honest, more caring, more respectful, more hard-working, etc. than just your average citizen of the world.
God is looking for His children to stand out in the world. The Bible teaches us that we can and should do that at the place that takes up so many of our waking hours – our jobs and business. Sisters, let’s not be tempted to think we cannot preach the gospel with our “mundane” lives. We can do that every day just by being committed to using integrity in the workplace to show we are good citizens of heaven.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write to me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.